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August, 2002: 87 posts.

Depression; Comic-Con Wrap Up

So for the past several days I’ve been immersed in Comic-Con down at the San Diego Convention Center. I’ve been going to the Con off and on since 1985. I have some strange memories associated with the Con.

I remember many years ago, when I was living in Los Angeles, and before I was working on the web, I went to Con. I was having a good time at Con, and called my home phone to check my messages. The automated voice said “You have 8 messages.” When I listened, I found that my cousin Eddie, less than a year younger than me, had committed suicide. It was so surreal. To think that one moment One minute I was attending seminars about the direction of Batman and catching up on what Frank Miller was up to; the next minute, I’m listening to my Mother’s voice telling me the worst news ever. He lived here in San Diego, and I immediately went home to the family.

I don’t associate the Con with trauma though. I had a nice time. I’m having a very rough time right now. For a while last week it was as bad as it had been in the beginning of the separation from Jenny. I realize that what I’ve been suffering with off and on is depression. And the trick is to try and deal with it as best I can. The depression manifests itself as periods of incomprehensible sorrow and sobbing. The depression also manifests itself with a retreat from responsibilities. I’m a talented person, but when I’m in these pits, I feel impotent in the face of the world. But with activity, walking, reading, doing errands, I can sometimes snap myself out of these feelings.

Sometimes though, I can’t. And that was how it was last week.

Now, how the hell am I going to retain a job or clients under these circumstances? I don’t know, but I’m working on it.

Sheesh. I really should write about Con, eh?

Random Observations and Notes from Con
SwordStaff.com/ makes some amazing bladed weapons, including a Klingon Batleth. I would never buy any such thing, but the craftsmanship was impressive.

Stickfas makes a generic toy character along the lines of Kubrick Toys which you can customize any way you like. This is a neat idea.

There’s a thing called The San Diego Star Wars Society. For Sassy: they use Postnuke for their community site

Another San Diego thing I’d not heard of was San Diego Asian Film Festival, taking place October 3-6, 2002.

I bought a small set of Copic Markers, as well as a how-to book on using them — How to Draw Manga Special: Colored Original Drawing. (I like all the How to Draw Manga books) They’re really nifty. I’ve been trying to do more drawing, ink and brushing, and watercoloring lately. It has been therapeutic.

I did not know that Minority Report had a faux-real site associated with it — precrime.org. They had freebie flyers promoting precrime as though they were artifacts from the movie. I like immersive promotional things like this. I’ve no idea if they work though. And Minority Report is on the downslope of its run now, so why promote it now?

If I lived in New York City, I would attend the lecture series “Superheroes in the 60’s: Comics and Counterculture, a multimedia lecture series by Arlen Schumer” at CUNY Graduate Center. It will be held on 4 consecutive Tuesday nights starting on October 29, 2002. Unfortunately the CUNY GC website has nothing about the series yet. From the flyer: In this review of the comic book superhero tradition, its personification of American Ideals and values, and how these attitudes and portrayals changed over the course of the turbulent 1960’s, the works of eight acknowledged Hall of Fame comic book artists are highlighted: Carmine Infantino, Curt Swan, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Joe Kubert, Jim Steranko and Neal Adams. Their comic art not only reflected the dominant motifs of the ’60s, from the futuristic idealism of Infantino to the cinematic realism of Adams, but most importantly, the superheroes they drew changed — from establishment conservatives like Superman, The Flash and Green Lantern to counterculture liberals like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and Green Arrow.

CafePress.com had a booth. I thought that was a pretty good idea for them.

Sheldon is a nice online comic. Their flyer included example strips — a smart move. Many promotional flyers I saw did not give any samples of stuff. I’m sorry, but clever drawings are not enough to get me to sample an online comic.

There’s a zine called FlipperSmack, which I knew about through Charles and Pinguino, both of whom have sites on SDB. I found a small flyer for it. I’m guessing it was Pinguino, though I didn’t see her there.

Illustration Magazine is expensive, quarterly, and of the highest quality. I’ll have to tell my friend Chris about it.

On Sunday I attended a presentation about the classic science fiction film Blade Runner. Paul Sammon gave the presentation. He made many teasing comments about a possible new special edition DVD for next year. It could have lots of new material, including on-set documentary footage, the BBC Channel 4 documentary, and all the various versions. Also of note is that Ridley Scott is working on a new cut of the film, a Blade Runner: Special Edition. You can read a bit more from Sammon on various BR topics at BRmovie.com. Another tidbit: apparently Dustin Hoffman was originally hired and paid to play Deckard, of course Harrison Ford ended up as Deckard.

A presentation by Kurt Busiek included the recommendation of Amy Unbounded as a wonderful comic for younger girls.

Saturday Night I attended a presentation from 20th Century Fox. I saw part of The Hulk presentation. They showed some footage I guess, but I missed that. The director, Ang Lee was enthusiastic about the film. We’ll see if it can be pulled off. All these comic book movies promise amazing, over-the-top action and effects, but given Lee’s wondrous Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, it just might work. A question was asked of Lee about going overbudget on the Hulk, a source of some controversy– and he answered: “I never go overbudget, I never go overschedule — but I’m having a blast!”

In another surprise, James Cameron came out and was talking about Solaris, due this Thanksgiving. Cameron is producing the film, with Steven Soderbergh directing. He showed a clip which was suitably moody. Solaris is from the classic Stanislaw Lem science fiction novel. Also, Cameron mentioned that he’s also working on a film adaptation of Battle Angel Alita.

In a neat twist, the guy who did The Green Goblin’s Last Stand asked to give Cameron a copy of the film he had made to get Cameron’s attention many years ago, back when it was Cameron who had Spider-Man in development. Cameron let the filmmaker, Dan Poole, come up, and accepted a DVD from the guy. For those who know about GGLS, that was a special moment. “I made it for YOU!!!” Poole said to Cameron. Neat.

The final surprise was the Daredevil panel. The movie looks like it could flop, but Ben Affleck showed up at the Con. I feel like I should have something more to say about that. Ah well, Daredevil comes out in February of 2003.

For the Ferreteer: Thunderbirds are coming to TechTV.

On Friday I attended a fun panel hosted by Mark Evanier and including Sergio Aragones, Scott Shaw!, Erik Larsen, and John Romita Jr. — they basically improvised lots of cool stuff — drawing for the audience based on suggestions a la “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” It’s fun to watch talented people draw. It was inspirational to me, who’s trying to do more drawing.

Ray BradburyI also got to see Ray Bradbury talking with Julius Schwartz. That was even more inspirational. Ray Bradbury has had a long, influential, and interesting career. He talked about flying and the fear of flying. He talked about sticking to what you love even when “stupid sonovabitches” tell you not to. Ray rocks. I also drew him.

I think things are looking up. I have a lot of work to do. Sorry for the lack of updates.

Update: 2020: I redrew Ray Bradbury.

Rock & Roll!

Rock & Roll! Lots happening. Work is in progress. Watch this space. Any of you worried about me based on the last post please don’t be so worried. The fact that I can say I’m depressed is a sign, to me, that I can conquer the beast. I’m rocking and rolling right now. And to those of you with whom I’ve not corresponded in a while. Talk to you soon. No kidding.

From the “Ugh, This is Disheatening” Department

Man hijacks al-Qaeda site for FBI use

When Web operator Jon Messner gained control of one of al-Qaeda’s prime Internet communication sites, he offered it to the FBI to use it for disinformation and collecting data about sympathizers.

What followed, he says, was a week of frustration.

FBI agents struggled to find someone with enough technical know-how to set up the sting. By the time they did, the opportunity was lost as militant Islamic Web users figured out the site was a decoy, said Messner of Ocean City, Md.

Bruce Sterling Ranting at OSCon…

Bruce Sterling Ranting at OSCon. Loopy. Be sure to read the part about the open source hippy girl. Truly cracked and entertaining.

Radio, Radio

From Wired News: Almost all radio is ClearChannel these days in San Diego.

More on the San Diego and La Jolla Squids…

Last week I cancelled call waiting…

Last week I cancelled call waiting. Call waiting irritates me. If I’m on the phone, I don’t want to be interrupted. I will save $3.23 per month. This is not revolutionary. But it may annoy some of the people who care about me. The intention is about focus.

From My Mom

Why the Zone Works So Well by Jeanne Rhynsburger, RN

Weight Loss

I don’t talk about my weight here, perhaps worrying that talking about it would jinx and embarrass me. But bottom line: I’ve lost 55 pounds since the separation started. Much of this was just grief-related / depression-related lack of interest in food (and a general lack of interest in ANYTHING). But since then I’ve also been walking more, and eating less.

This is interesting – a civil flag…

This is interesting – a civil flag: The Mystery of the Forgotten US Flag Revealed

This article about deep breathing is good for relaxation …

This article about deep breathing is good for relaxation —
and is actually close to meditation —
or even prayer.

The Food Timeline …

Ron Zeno has a blog on HCI/usability…

Ron Zeno has a blog on HCI/usability. Ron is a smart fellow. I know him via SanDCHI.

Two Comics I Intend to Get At Some Point But Which I Did Not See At Comic-Con

Comics and the Law

At Comic Con, I saw Michael L. Lovitz give several presentations on comics and intellectual property law. He also has a comic book called The Trademark & Copyright Book.

Steve & Natty’s Excellent Adventure

Steve K, who I worked with at EduPoint, is taking a year off to travel the nation with his girlfriend Natty – they’ve customized a van and are having an amazing time – check them and their walkabout out at www.steveandnatty.com.


Rumi is very interesting. Check out this site for more of his poetry. (via a friend)

Jenny Updates Journal!

Jenny has updated her journal. And yes, it’s true. We’ve been seeing more of each other. It’s a peculiar situation, but it’s been friendly. Not romantic. But very pleasant. At the core of it, we are excellent friends.

Worst Case Scenario is that we had 5 out of 6 happy years in our committed relationship. Not a bad track record. But we shall see what happens with more counseling and time.

Civil Flag Update

From Kynn: more on the (mythical? fictional?) civil flag, which I mentioned beforeU.S. Civilian Flag? and Flag Related Myths and Folklore (United States) / Civilian Flag.

When people say M$…

When people say M$, I say this.

Joan describes me as…

Joan describes me as:
a pia colada with chips and salsa. Before you know it you’ve wiped out the entire basket of chips, are asking for more salsa, and could we have an extra umbrella in the next drink? no idea what that means, but I kinda like it.

From Gail…

From Gail: 2 art sites:
WetCanvas.com and JUXTAPOZ.com

FBI laptops and guns go missing…

FBI laptops and guns go missing: The US Justice Department is left red-faced after an audit reveals the loss of 775 weapons and more than 400 computers — OUCH!

From Steve E…

From Steve E.:
Intelligent and thought-provoking take on the “music industry vs. Internet” battle. Written by Janis Ian of the 60s Society’s Child fame.:
  ·  Fallout – a follow up to The Internet Debacle
  ·  The Internet Debacle – an alternative view

The EFF has created a page to voice your opposition to the Berman Bill…

The EFF has created a page to voice your opposition to the Berman Bill, (the Bill) would give copyright holders what amount to Letters of Marque, to hack and disable personal computers. From the comfort of your chair you can send your representative a letter in opposition to this bill which will only add more power to the “Entertainment Industry Congressional Welfare Program” and allow them to turn the internet into a gated community for themeselves. (via the head lemur)

Nervous Horse Metaphor

I was speaking with a dear friend tonight. What I want out of life is to be happy. I also want calmness. I’d like to be calm, more. A metaphor occured to me.

The metaphor is this. I am a nervous horse in a stable. Jittery. Lumbering. There are people there with me. They are nervous as I twitch and rear up. I am conscious of the danger to them, and to myself. This tension and disquietude sometimes spiral out of control, and pain is the result.

What I need is a soothing voice. A quiet, strong voice to calm me down. An outside force to relax and me.

But here’s the problem: If I become reliant on that outside voice, then when it’s gone, I go out of control. The trick is for me to find the voice of calm that is inside me. The sense of serenity must originate inside me if I’m to have a happy life.

But now and again, a soothing voice from outside is wonderful.

Cyber Cafe in Pacific Beach

I picked up a flyer at Con about a new Cybercafe: Wired Cyber Cafe / Internet Access and PC Games / $3 per hour ($2 minimum) / Open Every Day 9:30am-10:30pm+ / 853 Hornblend St, Pacific Beach (Behind Long’s on Mission) The flyer lists a phone number of 858-490-8060. I’ve never been there. Perhaps sometime.

Quote of the Day

If you’re going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.
– Marie Osmond

SDAI: San Diego Art Institute: Computer Arts Program

compu-art.org looks interesting.

I like this shirt…

I like this shirt. The “clients” one is best.


To those of you who dropped me notes about my horse metaphor, thank you. You’re very kind, and you have articulate and moving thoughts. They certainly put my thoughts to shame. You know who you are.

Today was a good day. I’ll now get a little sappy and wish everyone out there a lovely weekend.


song of the weekend

I remember the night
       and the Tennessee Waltz
And I knew
       just how much I had lost
Yes, I lost my little darlin’ the night they were playing
The beautiful Tennessee Waltz
The beautiful Tennessee Waltz

read someone else’s blog for a second

the boy has to be smarter than the girl, my ASS.

MY TAKE: damn the rules. the rules are for suckers. society makes all these rules about how we’re supposed to be, about what is permissible. of course some of them make sense. careful and cautious evaluation needs to be done. and in so doing, we may find that some of these so-called rules make no sense, and must be thrown out.


Whew! Long Lost Geyser Picture

Too busy a weekend to talk about now. But I’m definitely gonna be talking about it! In the meantime, my sister sent me a picture from a long lost roll of 110 (remember those old cartridges?) film, and unearthed this picture of the two of us from sometime in the very early 1980s (I think I’m like 13 years old here?) — it’s really awesome. I think we’re in front of Old Faithful in Yellowstone. I look like a smart aleck, I think. Or maybe I’m just laughing. Thanks Kelly!

Bill Maudlin needs help…

Here are some good quotes on truth and honesty…

Here are some good quotes on truth and honesty. These two words mean a great deal to me. Pondering these words these past weeks.

I think Alanis Morrisette’s video for So Pure is rad…

I think Alanis Morrisette’s video for So Pure is rad. Check it out

From Steve E…

From Steve E: Why Lindows Ultimately Won’t Matter. Lindows is less compelling to me as a concept now than when I wrote Lindows, The Pitch. The article is worth a read.

JavaScript Cheat Sheets

Visibone has new cards featuring JavaScript. That is rad. Visibone makes wonderful stuff for web developers.

My Nutty Pal Kynn

Kynn is busy lately — here he is being consulted as an expert on wired news and here he is being goofy (Kirby Dots!) in WWNKD: the comic strip. And have you bought his CSS Book yet?

Lyric of the Day

No it isn’t very easy
When you’re left on your own
No it isn’t very easy
When each road you take
Is one more mistake
There’s no-one to break your fall
And lead you back home, yeah

We all like to climb to the heights of love
Where our fantasy world can be found
But you must know in the end
When it’s time to descend
That there is no easy way down

– by Dusty Springfield

ASP and SQL Tricks


John V sends: purportal, a resource for debunking myths! Worth a bookmark. I also like snopes.com for unearthing hoaxes and urban myths and such.


Janece C (former WebSanDiegan, current Seattleite) is blogging about running and about more than that. Check it!


Janece is a CURRENT WebSanDiegan.

ArtLung.com regrets the error. 🙂

Alone In The Night

Alone In The Night by joe

it has to be okay
to be alone in the night
the emptiness
of aloneness

could be interpreted
as an opportunity
for independence
for self-sufficiency

but sometimes
the aloneness
just feels hollow
and the result is sorrow
and the result is sadness
and the result is despair
and the result is insomnia
and the result is pain
and the result is crying
and the result is intractable
and the result is ugly
and the result tortures me

but i must learn
to be alone in the night
to not depend on another person
or even an audience
for comfort


Sassy completed his magnum opus (which I think means “great work”) — the name of his great work is Typography for the Web of Information a few days ago. It’s thorough, and he put it together for school.

New Lab Item, but Offsite:

Using Form.FieldNames to get every Form Field name/value pair in Cold Fusion. I’m proud of it. Not bad for an hour and fifteen minutes worth of research and code. Discrete coding demonstrations I like.

Should You Be Worried About Joe? Big Update

The $50,000 question these days I find myself asking myself is this. Am I going to be okay? Do things really work themselves out? Does time heal all wounds? Will Batman escape the clutches of the nefarious Dr. Freeze?

I am confronted more and more with my own optimism. It’s been more than 3 months since Jenny and I separated. At the beginning of that time, I was in constant, crushing pain. I was immobilized, lost my appetite, was crying constantly, and making tremendously bad decisions about how to act. Gradually I’ve tried to get my ass in gear and take care of myself. I have turned my powers of observation and problem solving on their ear. My appetite for mastery of computer and internet technologies, my obsession for understanding, and applied that to my own life.

I’ve been doing the forensic analysis of my life, and my marriage. Hospitals have a concept – the M&M conference. These “mortality and morbidity” conferences are where frank discussions about what deaths and injuries occur in the hospital. The idea is to learn from mistakes, and improve the quality of care in the hospital. I think of what I have been doing as the chance to do that kind of soul searching. I have been lucky that Jennifer also came to be willing to do this kind of work.

I have expressed to Jennifer personally how thankful I am to her for engaging in joint counseling with me. I now also do so publicly. Thank you Jenny.

This notion of my public face is so odd. I always have known that my web space is public. I have found, though, that my increased notoriety brings more visitors. And not just visitors, respondents! I have gotten much good advice, empathy, and love from these kind people. Add to that, my mother, and some members of my family check in here to see what Joe’s up to.

I wonder about this? I have become somewhat self-conscious about it all. I can’t tell that I’ve altered my behavior, or what I say here, but I am conscious of it. I suppose this is a taste of fame. For some, it inflates egos, for some, it destroys. I find that the dose I have gotten maybe makes me even more skeptical of fame than ever. Like I’m getting an inoculation from seeking fame somehow.

But really, I seek tonight to answer that question. Should You Be Worried About Joe? I believe the answer is no. Particularly over something like the poem from the other night, do not fret. At 1 in the morning, I’m sure I’m more dramatic and maudlin than I am at other times of the day. I think you should think of this blog as only a sampling of my experiences and life. It’s not the sum total of my life. I’ve been reading a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe these days. What has struck me is how much happens in a life, and that incapsulating it all is impossible. At best we get truthful glimpses. My hope is that this space, this blog, provides something like that. But it’s not everything. Not by a longshot.

So please, take my whimpers of pain with grains of salt. Sometimes I’m more down than others. I cry easily these days. My Grandmother says that’s her family’s influence — the emotional edginess that can strike unexpectedly. I think I feel empowered that I can now say that at times in my life I struggle with depression. I think that knowing this about myself makes me more capable to cope with it. I always assumed that stoicism and time will heal anything. But now I find myself in the position of needing to be able to step outside myself and watch myself. This shift in perspective has been beneficial. What am I doing? Why do I do it? How do I feel? Listening to my self is a must if I’m to live an authentic life.

So what’s new? Well, tonight Jenny, Erin and I went and saw the Margaret Cho concert movie. It was great to see Jenny. Our friend Tracy was supposed to go, but she was in a car wreck the other day, and found out today that the car is a total loss. Dealing with the financial aspects of that, as well as being shaken up by a bad accident, and add to that a cracked sternum and real pain — I realize that I’m very lucky. I’m having good thoughts for Tracy now. I want things to work out for her.

Anyway, though I saw Jenny briefly, I would like to see her again, perhaps this weekend. We’ll see if that works out, schedule-wise. Joint counseling went so well last week that we’re taking several weeks off. The lines of communication are super-open, and we are talking and communicating. I’m very pleased to have her as a friend — as a person with whom I can share confidences. She’s a remarkable woman, and I would like her to be happy. I would like to continue exploring our friendship, for I have no idea where we are headed.

Additionally, I think it’s time to acknowledge here that I’ve engaged in an outside relationship during this separation. The intensity of this relationship has dwindled and changed of late. I have been honest and forthright about this with my parents and sister, and with my closest friends, this includes Jennifer. I don’t feel the shame over it that I think I would have. It’s peculiar to write about it now. It’s peculiar to mention it so publicly. But for some reason, I feel I should. It’s an important aspect of my experience of the past months. It is no longer a romance, but a great deal of the pain I have felt lately I can tell is over that. This is something that has been on my mind a great deal, and watching myself and my behavior has shed light on motives and mistakes I have made in the past 20 years of decisions, feelings and attitudes about women. I am deciding to keep talk like this unspecific. I have no desire to air every one of my character flaws; I do not want to embarrass or expose anyone I care about to trouble. Suffice it to say that I am clearly a human being, and I have made mistakes, some large, some small, in my life. And with luck, like an M&M conference, my thinking about these incidents will help me learn to provide better care.

In this case, the patient is me. I must take care of myself. Interestingly, this is the advice my parent’s gave me three months ago: that I needed to use this time to take care of myself. And again, there’s a reminder of how lucky I am.

The effort I am currently engaged in is to take care of myself.

As many of you have noted, I like to sign off messages of this depth with…


Seventh Annual Bourbon Street Wine Tasting- Cabaret Noir on Thursday…

Seventh Annual Bourbon Street Wine Tasting- Cabaret Noir on Thursday, August 29, 2002. Looks cool. Check out Mama’s Kitchen.

For PHP Geeks

The Kid

The Kid Stays In the Picture is a wonderful movie. I saw it last weekend. It’s the documentary of the life in Hollywood of one Robert Evans. It’s based by his book of the same name. I really like the guy’s attitude. He is a can-do, jerk. But he seems to be forthright about what he is and what he’s about. He’s had amazing falls and has won and lost fortunes and reputation, and through it all he still has hope and a desire to do interesting and successful work. If it comes to your town, and you love movies, see it.

Monkey makes fabulous sorbet in a sack is genius…

Camille Paglia speaks on all and sundry!

Camille Paglia speaks on all and sundry!
Worth a thorough read. She excoriates many in this piece, and writes from a historical perspective that gets missed in all the talk of a “War On Terror.” Check it…

But as a chain of suicide bombers steadily blew up buses and restaurants in Israel over the past year, my sympathy for the Palestinian cause has gradually diminished. War, declared or undeclared, justifies attacks on military targets. But the massacre of civilians – in the World Trade Center or at a Jerusalem market – is barbarism. What kind of state could be formed by people who tolerate and cheer such atrocities? When moderate factions are so feeble, who can believe that a Palestinian state would not be the staging area for missile attacks on Israel?

My reading of history – based on the rise and fall of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Rome, and Byzantium – is that the world has embarked on a long period of uncertainty, a century or more of grotesque contrasts. There will be years, even decades of Western affluence and peace, then scattered outbreaks of violence and chaos, put down by assertions of military and police power, verging on the fascist. Should there be severe climatic shifts affecting food production (a subject I harped on in my Salon column), the world economy would be destabilized, and complex societies would unravel.

Sour Experience

Sour Experience
A Long Island mother is fuming that JFK Airport security guards forced her to drink her own breast milk in front of other passengers before boarding a flight – to prove she wasn’t carrying any dangerous fluid to wreak havoc.

I’d Pretend, That I Was A Billboard

I used to view personal interplay as a chance to “put my best face forward” – and in so doing I shut myself off. There’s a line in a Talking Heads song – Nothing But Flowers— “Years ago, I was an angry young man, and I’d pretend, that I was a billboard” — and that’s where I was at. I was truthful, sure, but I think I always tried to spin things in the most positive way possible. Maybe that’s an Enron thing, using accounting tricks to show profits and success when really there was none. Not of course that I was that destructive and deceitful. But I definitely hid things about myself. A blessing of these days is that I’m much more open about my own faults. This has had benefits in the personal, the romantic, the professional, the artistic, and the spiritual spheres.

Jenny and I had dinner last night. I made my hamhanded attempt to cook (the salad was lovely!) and we spoke and talked about this and that as well as more serious topics. It was open and good. Jenny is a good friend to me. Then we went and saw the Austin Powers movie. Then we went to what is supposedly the largest Target in the world and shopped and talked. I feel very much her friend. We spoke openly and honestly. It gratifies me to be in that space. Pleasant.

I’ve been struggling lately with the compulsion I have to be with someone. But I think I’m realizing that I don’t have to be with someone all the time. Someone wrote to me we are always with ourselves – which sounded odd to me at first, but makes sense.

My Mom says that we are always with God. I don’t have the faith in that truth that she does. But I do believe in truth, and in love. These are both unmeasurable, abstract concepts. So perhaps there’s more faith in me than I ever realized. But the ideas of God as presented to me in my youth do not motivate or convince me. Spiritual growth is something I have as a goal, certainly. Much reading and research and self-searching to do in that area.

Okay, onward.

Smartest Thing Written on Yahoo and China

Personally I disagree with Yahoo, and IDC. Personally I find China’s ability to combine censorship, oppression and capitalism as frightening as Al Qaeda. But let’s not be blind to realities here. And it seems that the Post’s coverage is willfully blind to them.

China means profits. Participating in the Chinese “opportunity” means colluding with the Tienanmien murderers. It’s a price capitalism willingly plays. That’s the reality.
     »read the whole note, in context, in the IP archives

Moz. Realtime.

I have 9 Morrissey CDs.

They are enumerated below for no terribly good reason:

» World of Morrissey
» Southpaw Grammar
» Beethoven was Deaf
» Your Arsenal
» Malajusted
» Kill Uncle
» Vauxhall and I
» My Early Burglary Years
» Viva Hate

Wait. Where’s Bona Drag?
» Bona Drag

Correction. I have 10 Morrissey CDs. What that means is left as an exercise for the reader.

Male Answer Syndrome

Male Answer Syndrome is the annoying tendency of most men to answer questions regardless of whether they actually know the answer. I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere.
via Mark’s Very Large National Lampoon Site

I am afflicted.

what does war mean today?

Well, humans are very aggressive and scrappy, and go to war at the drop of a hat. However, a standard land war is no longer going to work as it is no longer technically possible. There are no fronts, the commanding headquarters of generals can be smashed instantly and are number-one targets, supply lines can be interdicted at will, trans-border invasions by organized national armies are heavily disapproved by large coalitions of nations. War as Napoleon knew it just not possible any more. However, we’re very unlikely to accept or recognize “world peace” even when we get it. Therefore, events that Queen Victoria would recognize as outrages, frontier skirmishes or minor popular rebellions will be reclassified as “war.” And so will major atrocities such as biological warfare and surreptitious nuclear explosions. They used to be seen as insane or unthinkable acts of madmen. But if they take place they’ll be called “war” too. And there will still be no conventional war.
– Bruce Sterling in Inside the Military Entertainment Complex

Monday Recap

So today I got a bunch of work done. Did some invoices for work already done. Did some work on a proposal for a project I may get to work on which may help me pay that darned rent.

On a more depressing note, today I closed out the joint bank account Jenny and I shared. So… anticlimactic. But, i signed some papers, and poof! No more account. More changes and alterations.

I also went and did my laundry. On the whole I prefer the Sunday morning/Saturday morning crowd for laundry. Monday night was a lot of single guys. Frankly, I have no interest in single guys. Give me older women and single women and moms with kids! These people are fun. Single guys are so sullen. Er, I hope not like me. Heh heh.

On an entirely other note, Monday was pretty good, really. Busy and nice.

Tired now. Time for bed.

Alyson Hannigan (from Buffy The Vampire Slayer) sure is cute…

Alyson Hannigan (from Buffy The Vampire Slayer) sure is cute. You know, when I was in Los Angeles, I once interviewed with the company that developed and maintained the Buffy site for Fox. I didn’t get the gig, ended up at Jamison/Gold instead. Everything worked out for the best professionally.

Rules of the House of God

Rules of the House of God

Read about my two of my favorite musical artists these days:

» Stew (New York Times)
Stew is witty, musical, and is backed by great musicians. If you’ve not heard the Negro Problem, or Stew, you owe it to yourself to check them out. stewsongs.com has more information.

» Norah Jones (Jambase)
I saw Norah Jones a few weeks back and she is amazing. What a voice. I’ve also picked up some live cuts of hers on limewire. She does a version of The Tennessee Waltz that blows me away. More of her at norahjones.com.


Helen Bannerman wrote the book Little Black Sambo. Interesting person.

Venor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil chat about the Singularity

I was watching some NYPD Blue during the day on Tuesday. Nice exchange between the Rick Schroeder policeman character and a woman under arrest:
     Woman: “These cuffs are tight!”
     Cop: “Yeah, they come like that from the factory.”

I laughed out loud. 🙂

Blog Meetup San Diego is Today

weblogger meetup!

Huzzah Me!

Sent out a big proposal today for some work. I think I’ve done good due diligence as far as time and cost breakdowns. Hope it goes well! The proposal process is a painful one, but a necessary one. If the client and the developer (in this case me) don’t agree, there’s problems. So it’s best to do as complete a breakdown as possible before starting work.

So we’ll see!

In the meantime, going to see a pal tonight and then to blog meetup tonight!


Maxim’s Insight?

Maxim, with an honest-to-goodness insightful article on relationships. I think Maxim is a problematic magazine, really. But it sure does signify the culture of American maleness — at least these days. O-dub might be proud of this link. He’s said Maxim is is favorite magazine.
(via bruce sterling)

Blog Meetup Recap

I’m really glad I went to the Blog Meetup last night. I carpooled with the lovely and talented Tara, which was pretty cool unto itself. The location, Claire de Lune. I like that place – it was the site of the most successful WebSanDiego.org Happy Hour — #6, which is 2 years ago now.

But I digress.

Who was there? Alphabetically, it was Ali, CriticalMAS, Lura, Roman, and Tara. Maybe a small turnout, but isn’t it about quality, not quantity? This is my theory. Heh. The conversation was wide-ranging – from the latest funny stuff in the blogosphere, to relationships, pranks, marriage, dealing with image theft, coffee, and lots of stuff in-between. It was definitely worth going. It was a very cool crew. I’ll go next month too, I think.

So what are others saying about the Meetup? Here’s Lura (who good heavens! makes me blush!) and Roman (and that kid does have some very cool design stuff happening). I added Roman to San Diego Bloggers and Lura has put in a sidebar link, so I moved her up the list.

A fun time was had by all, as they say.

I think I shoulda got a Chai Tea though. But I’m trying to save money, so no beverage was probably a good call.

From The My-Readers-Make-Me-Laugh-Too! Department

Tom Bickle writes:

If you thought the handcuff exchange was funny, you’d love a similar back ‘n forth, early on in the movie “Ransom.”

    Perp: “Oww! These cuffs are too tight!”
    Cop (in a heavy Noo Yawk accent): “Oh yeah, dat’s because they’re new –
        give ’em time, they’ll stretch.”

xplane’s xblog has redesigned…

xplane’s xblog has redesigned. Nice.

Power and Weakness by Robert Kagan

There is a great deal of food for thought in Power and Weakness by Robert Kagan, from Policy Review. (via bruce sterling). It’s a long but good article.

… The United States is a behemoth with a conscience. It is not Louis xiv’s France or George III’s England. Americans do not argue, even to themselves, that their actions may be justified by raison d’etat. Americans have never accepted the principles of Europe’s old order, never embraced the Machiavellian perspective. The United States is a liberal, progressive society through and through, and to the extent that Americans believe in power, they believe it must be a means of advancing the principles of a liberal civilization and a liberal world order. Americans even share Europe’s aspirations for a more orderly world system based not on power but on rules–after all, they were striving for such a world when Europeans were still extolling the laws of machtpolitik.

But while these common ideals and aspirations shape foreign policies on both sides of the Atlantic, they cannot completely negate the very different perspectives from which Europeans and Americans view the world and the role of power in international affairs. Europeans oppose unilateralism in part because they have no capacity for unilateralism. Polls consistently show that Americans support multilateral action in principle–they even support acting under the rubric of the United Nations–but the fact remains that the United States can act unilaterally, and has done so many times with reasonable success. For Europeans, the appeal to multilateralism and international law has a real practical payoff and little cost. For Americans, who stand to lose at least some freedom of action, support for universal rules of behavior really is a matter of idealism. …

This is how to get people to do things…

This is how to get people to do things. You decide you’re going, and bring ’em along!

Geek Activism?

Via John: GeekPACGeekPAC is an organization created for the specific purpose of Lobbying Directly to Influence Elections and the passage of legislation that fits the goals of our organization. We are a “PRO” Information Technology, “PRO” Freedom of Information, “PRO” Equal Access, “PRO” Freedom of Innovation and “PRO” Free Enterprise organization. In essence we speak directly too issue that appeals to the people who live with, and work with technology. Our goal is to become a voice to better represent those people. — this has got Doc Searls and Eric Raymond on the contact list. So this seems like the real deal. I’m skeptical of using the same corrupt lobbying system to make changes. But the name of the game in Washington is using influence the way other powers do. I suppose lobbying is a necessary evil. Considering all the shenanigans Congress has been up to, and how “in the pocket” they are to corporate and media interests when it comes to issues in computing, lobbying is the thing we geeks need to do. I suppose merely voting isn’t enough.

Live from the Apple Store Fashion Valley

So i’m geeking out with massive amounts of people here at the Fashion Valley Apple Store for their 10:20 Mac OS X Event tonight. It’s amazing what an overpriced upgrade can create in the Mac faithful. Lots of excitement. Okay. Gotta get outta here now.

Here’s a good reason to respect Larry Lessig…

Here’s a good reason to respect Larry Lessig. He deals with (cantankerous, argumentative, trolling) Dave Winer with aplomb.

New Tom Tom Club News

“Tom Tom Club in a Bootleg Style – Part 1” is the title of the brand new 80 minutes tour documentary released by Tom Tom Club. The DVD contains home video footage of the band in rehearsal, live recordings from the 2000 and 2001 US tours, as well as backstage meetings with a variety of artists and fans. The DVD will be sold at future Tom Tom Club gigs and soon also, exclusively, on TomTomClub.Net (part of Talking-heads.net). The DVD is all region (so playable worldwide) and was directed by Chris Frantz himself. via the Talking Heads Discussion List.

Lyric of the Day

Brunch y Libros de Los Angeles y OSX.2 (Jaguar)

Today I’m headed to Los Angeles (pronounce the “g” with a hard “Guh” for that 1940’s effect) to have brunch at Du-Pars at Farmer’s Market. I’m going to try to hit my favorite L.A. bookstores after that: Opamp (technical books), Hennessey+Ingalls (art, design), Golden Apple (comics). I may try to hit Aron’s Records and the newsstand World Book and News in Hollywood.

I’m pretty tired — I stayed up late installing OSX.2. It was pretty painless process. The new iTunes is really awesome. Good software reaching for greatness. The interface and the program with the Smart Playlists can really “watch” your music library and what you do very nicely. Also, it appears that rendering speeds on my box are much faster. Mozilla seems much faster, which I was not expecting. Finder and file operations are MUCH faster so far. The new Address Book is nice as well, though I’m not using it yet. There are supposedly other new features coming close on the heels of OSX.2 too. So we’ll see.


Here’s A Long Los Angeles Recap


I had a great time in Los Angeles yesterday.

I left at quarter of 9, and traffic started immediately. Luckily though, I was not late for the Web405 brunch at Du-Par’s. Excellent company and a lovely traditional breakfast (eggs over easy and turkey links). Good to see old colleagues and meet new friends too. Dennis was a class act as usual, and I got to see Bill Kelley and finally meet Joanna Minneci who I’ve known virtually for a few years, and finally met in person. After Du-Pars we all sojourned to The Grove, a new mall adjacent to Farmer’s Market — where we took a gander at their Apple Store.

I was wearing the Jaguar T-Shirt I got the night before at the San Diego Apple Store. Now, those of you who have met me know I’m a large fellow. Well, I’ve been wearing XXL for 4 years, maybe longer. This shirt is XL, and pretty much fits. I think for new shirts it’s going to be on a case by case basis what my size actually is. But but my clothing sizes are clearly changing. This is a good thing.

After the Apple Store the ‘405ers parted ways and I headed out to the streets of L.A.

I’ve always liked driving in Los Angeles.

Let me say that again. It bears repeating. I’ve always liked driving in Los Angeles.

At this point I will point out that I am indeed undergoing counseling, but that “the driving in L.A.” has not come up as a character flaw. It may be the novelty of it, I don’t get up to L.A. often, so I’m romanticizing it.

The through-line of this post has drifted. Pardon me. Let’s get back on track. Shall we?

After Farmer’s Market I did what I said I was going to do Saturday morning. I headed first for Opamp Books. What a great technical bookstore that is. I set a limit on my spending beforehand. Budgeting is important. I ended up walking around with several books, including Kynn’s CSS Book and a book on Proposals and Software specifications, but I ended buying with three books. All of them have real practical value to me now. They are: Mac OS X Pocket Reference, VBScript Pocket Reference, and The Computer Consultants Guide: Second Edition: Real Life Strategies for Building a Successful Consulting Career.

I have a habit when buying technical books. I decide on a task that maybe I have done with technology, or with a similar technology, and see if the book would have helped me. I chose the proposal/negotiation process I recently went through. I checked the consulting book’s index. On looking, it brought up things that I did not think of. This makes the book a winner! Also, the VBScript book explicated some things about some functions I used on the ASP/Microsoft Access Project which is slowly finishing up. And the OS X Pocket Guide had so many good tiplets and productivity ideas I thought it was a good idea to have. I don’t have any OS X books yet. Well, now I do.

Next on the Tour de Librerías de Los Angeles was Aron’s Records. I picked up some cheap used CDs and movies. Steely Dan’s Can’t Buy a Thrill, Matthew Sweet’s In Reverse, Alanis Morissette’s Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (I’ve been listening to the song So Pure so compulsively in the past year or so I figured I should get the whole record). I also got Zappa’s “Francesco Zappa” and Randy Newman’s Bad Love. On the cheap VHS movie front, I got Get Shorty (a very “L.A.” movie) and a widescreen version of Mister Roberts, a favorite of mine since I was a kid.

My habit at stores with large used sections, like Aron’s, is to go through ALL the CDs. That’s what I did – went from Z to A looking at everything. When I worked at the library there were two tasks we Library Aides would do that looked at every item on the shelves. We would do “reading” – which was looking at every book on the shelves and assure they were in order. And “maintaining” – which is straightening up each and every book to make sure the spines were flush with the edge of the shelves themselves. I think my speed with those tasks makes me somehow more patient. Like I can get myself to look at every one of the CDs at Aron’s because I was equipped to do that in a job I had 14 years ago.

It was hot in L.A. yesterday. The car was really good. Luckily, the Joe-Mobile does have good air conditioning. But I was thirsty. And I tell you, on a hot day, Gatorade is a wonderful thing.

I hit Golden Apple Comics after that. It’s on Melrose Avenue. Melrose is a street Erin and Tracy and I used to explicitly go down to see what was cool. Not that we were cool, but we liked to see what was cool. Lots to see. People dressed every which way. Kids in mohawks, for all the world looking like 70’s era punks. I also saw a young woman, no more than 17, perfectly outfitted in a black miniskirt, punky blonde and black hair, and an English Beat T-shirt. She could have been an extra in a John Hughes movie! (Probably Sixteen Candles). I was disappointed, I didn’t find the Wonder Woman or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books I had pined for a few weeks ago. I did pick up ‘Nuff Said. ‘Nuff Said is a reprinting of several Marvel Comics which are entirely wordless. They also include the original scripts after each story. As a pure exercise in wordless storytelling it seems pretty interesting. As a visual designer, keeping my visual mind active is important. Seeing the solutions visual artists come up with to communicate with their audience definitely provides me with inspiration.

After that I went down to the Santa Monica Promenade. I had planned to go to Hennessey+Ingalls. However, H+I was closed early. There was a sign indicating that they were closed because the staff was all at a wedding. This, obviously was a bummer. So I spent some time wandering on the Promenade. The Promenade is several blocks of shops, with many street performers – some singers, and a pair of dancers in Aztec dress (full headdresses!). I ended up going to Midnight Special Books. Again mostly browsing. How can there be so many good books out there? I was resigned to leaving without anything, but then I came across

Dangerous Kitchen: The Subversive World of Zappa. Oh no, not another Zappa book. I started to checking out some sections, hoping it would be a book I could avoid. But the author has some good ideas – a nice melding of biography and criticism. So I bought the book, and read about 50 pages of it while having a Turkey Burger at the unfortunately named Fatburger.

It’s at this point I’ll note I’m down 60 pounds since this all started 3 months and 3 weeks ago. Weight loss has not been a goal per se, but it’s come along with having better activity and dietary habits.

After that I headed home. The “check engine” light went on the Joe-Mobile. Ugh. I checked the oil, it was indeed low, so I put in oil, and was on my way. My car is now 14 years old, and it has some quirks. One quirk is that it burns oil at an increased rate. As long as it does what it must, I’m happy.

The drive back was fine. I listened to my audiobook of Neuromancer (always a favorite), and the sun went down as I hit the toll road 73 in Orange County. People all over the world, and in most parts of the USA, are used to toll roads. But here in California a toll road is an oddity. Almost, Un-American. But it did make the trip a bit shorter.

When I got home I had messages on my machine from three wonderful women. That’s always a good thing. Today I’ve followed up with all of them. I’m staying in today. Doing some work, some bills and such. Along with these mundanities, I’m watching movies and listening to the new acquisitions.

It’s nice when a weekend is so pleasant.

San Diego Bloggers – Changes July – August!

In the past 2 months we’ve had a bunch more San Diego blogs (which is to say any blog in San Diego County – it could be Oceanside or Vista or El Cajon or Lakeside or Solana Beach) added to SDBloggers. It’s been really cool seeing this site evolve. Blogs come, they go. Lots of interesting reading…
07/02/2002 Chris’s Marathon RunningBlog
07/03/2002 the world according to bill
07/03/2002 penguinspeak
07/10/2002 HybridEmotion
07/10/2002 blue monster
07/10/2002 The Indepundit
07/11/2002 {Hairy Toes & Lemonade Rhino}
07/11/2002 a day in the life of Aegan the Elf
07/15/2002 aucella.net
07/15/2002 The Hsu Box
07/15/2002 AndrewPhelps
07/25/2002 Odd Man Out
07/25/2002 Under My Skin
07/25/2002 drew
07/28/2002 penniepie online
07/29/2002 Horologium
08/05/2002 A Still Verdictless Life
08/07/2002 in my mind’s zen garden
08/07/2002 Ron’s Ramblings
08/19/2002 One-Trick CyberPony
08/20/2002 katerhealy
08/22/2002 Fish-EYE
08/22/2002 romandiaz.com
08/27/2002 jason.evans.online

Joe’s Playlist Today

Joe’s Playlist Today (this is the day of lists)
Dirty Work: Steely Dan
Loddy Doddy: Slick Rick
Oh No: Mothers of Invention
Sing Your Life: Morrissey
Unsent: Alanis Morissette
It Wasn’t Me: Shaggy
Stink: John Lurie
Screenwriters’s Blues: Soul Coughing
Considering a Move To Memphis: Colorblind James Experience
Angels: David Byrne

I challenge you to find a pattern there.

B&N Blog

MAS sent me this link, which Lura mentioned at blog meetup last week — it purports to be the blog of a Barnes and Noble store manager. And here it is: PITA: The Wacky Customer Archives — it’s pretty darn funny. I hope I’m not a customer like some of these customers!

Lyrics of the Day

Lyrics to Considering a Move To Memphis by the Colorblind James Experience…
Memphis is the kind of town
That won’t feel like a trap
Besides I kind of like the way
It sits there on the map

I’m considering a move to Memphis
That’s Memphis, Tennessee
It worked for Elvis Presley
Why can’t it work for me?

The people in the restaurants there
Will all use forks and knives
They won’t take decongestants though
For fear of getting hives

Ba ba ba-ba ba ba
Ba ba ba-ba ba ba
Ba ba ba-ba ba ba

I’m considering
I’m considering
A move to Memphis
A move to Memphis
I’m considering
I’m considering

Lesson and Realization

Love != Sex

Sex != Love

And yet, these things are clearly, brightly related. But the simple equation I’ve had in my head for so long, that Sex=Love, is not a true one. In fact, it may not be as simple as a rational mathematical relationship. The complexity of my heart, and the vastness of the complexity of human relationships, continues to surprise me.

For non-programmers: an exclamation mark followed by an equals sign indicates “not equal to”

New Poetry

Part of the interesting thing about a public website is the utter latitude I have to post any old thing I like. Such is the power of self-publishing. Luckily, I don’t post absolutely everything I write and create. I create like mad, and I hope my internal editor makes good decisions about what I make public.

In that vein, there are some new words (which is a space for longer more permanent pieces).

It was written for a friend on the day their Divorce was final. As I think of it, it’s a meditation on all life transitions.

It is called Becoming: A Meditation On Your Divorce Day

Neat Stuff

I like Norah Jones’ music a lot.

I like Frank Zappa a lot. I ordered a CD many months ago that just arrived. FZ:OZ. It’s great.

Cashflow while freelancing can be an adventure.

Sometimes not a good adventure.

I have good friends.

It’s fun to have sleepovers.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a great show, and a good movie.

I’ve not played racquetball in a week and a half, and I miss it.

I’ll be pet sitting for Jenny this weekend!

My wife is one of my best friends.

I think she will not be my wife for all time.

I think she will be my friend for all time.

I need more discipline to keep my dishes clean.

Tiger’s Milk bars are a part of a great breakfast.

My car burns a lot of oil, but it’s 13 years old, and it runs.

If I had all the money in the world, I’d buy one of those Thunderbirds. A convertible.

If I had all the money in the world, I’d want to turn myself into Alfred Stieglitz. The idea of fostering art and artists, while engaging in commerce, is a very attractive one. Perhaps there’s a way to make this happen without having all the money in the world.

I have been making mix tapes since 1984. I was 14 years old.

This year I’m starting to make mix CDs. I am 32 years old.

A mix tape can tell a story.

My mix tapes often evoke moods.

The best ones do both.

I like to tell stories and evoke moods.

I think I always have.

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